August 20, 2009

Madison vegetarian meet-up dinner

Just before we left for Seattle, we attended another Madison vegetarian meet-up dinner. This one was catered by Jennie Capellaro, who makes vegan/vegetarian soups for two local cafés, and who is soon to open a vegetarian/vegan restaurant on Madison's east side. (She also has a law degree - you just can't be too prepared in these times.) I'm sure all 50 people who attended the dinner will be lining up at the restaurant's doors, the second it opens. Jennie prepared a four course vegan meal plus hors d'ouvres and beverages for our group, and both the presentation and taste were beautiful.

This was the menu:
"Crab" cakes with chipotle remoulade, fresh vegetable tray
First Course (Salad)
Tossed mixed greens with roasted beets, caramelized pecans, and balsamic vinaigrette
Second Course (Soup)
Creamy zucchini and spinach soup with garlic croutons and chives
Main Course
Vegan schnitzel cutlet topped with creamy mushroom sauce
Sautéed green beans and red peppers
Key lime tarts with vegan whipped cream and fresh fruit
Rosewater lemonade

We indulged in this lovely meal at the very elegant Kennedy Manor. There were formal white cloth table coverings and napkins, and everything you'd expect as a backdrop to fine dining. It also was quite dark and not conducive to my preferred style of natural light photography, but I did my best under the circumstances. (I also was anxious to eat so I only took two or three shots of each item.)

The salad (shown above) was perfectly gorgeous and delicious with just the right amount of tangy dressing, but the highlight for me were the pecans. Each one was a perfect burst of flavor and crunchy texture. They were incredibly delicious. How do you caramelize pecans?

OK. I admit I was halfway finished my soup, marveling at the taste and texture, trying to figure out how to make it myself, when I remembered to take a photo. There were three fabulous garlic croutons floating elegantly on top, and the cup looked so much prettier before I dug in. I could barely restrain myself from eating the rest long enough to snap a shot. I'm going to try to make this as soon as we're settled in Seattle.

I'm not usually a big fan of meat analogs in restaurants, but what the heck. It tasted just like...chicken? Or would schnitzel be veal? Someone asked what it was, and Jennie said it was a soy product, but didn't elaborate on that. In any case, it was really good both in taste and texture. And the green beans were crisp, fresh and full of flavor. (Jennie purchased all the vegetables and fruits at the Saturday farmers' market.)

For dessert we had individual key lime pies. I've never actually had key lime pie before so I can't compare the flavor of this one to a past memory. All I can say is this adorable little pie was creamy, tangy and delicious. If I didn't know for a fact it was vegan, I wouldn't have believed it. And the whipped cream tasted like real whipped cream. How did she do that?

I don't have photos of the crab cake hors d'oeuvres or lemonade, but trust me, they were excellent, just like everything else!

© 2009 Andrea's easy vegan cooking


  1. What a fabulous menu!! It all looks fantastic. I'm definitely jealous this time!!

  2. Vegetation,
    You know, I'm actually a little jealous, too, now that I'm not in Madison anymore.

  3. Wow, just wow! Those pies are calling my name!

    No schnitzel is not veal, it's from pig's flesh. (Which doesn't make it better). I do understand you, I am also not a big fan of fake meats and if they taste like real meat I find them totally creepy. But I like their texture.

  4. Wow, scheduled posts are cool!

    I'm sorry to have missed that potluck. And I miss you too!

    I will try those brownies.... when I'm finished making chocolate zucchini cakes :)

  5. Mihl,
    I think I saw a recipe for key lime - or some kind of lime - pie in this month's Vegetarian Times. Or was it VegNews? I'll have to look for it and maybe make a pie.

    I'm sorry you missed that dinner, too, but you were off doing your jet-set thing and having a much better time. You can go to the next one with Betsy!

    I really miss you and Alan. Come visit!

  6. That looks and sounds like such a delicious meal! I often think that eating out doesn't offer anything I can't make at home, but if I was served something like this! Wow! And I must look for a recipe for Key Lime Pies!

  7. looks like a fantastic meal and a proper send off from Madison.

    Welcome to Seattle! I hope you're enjoying the awesome weather. I went swimming in green lake yesterday and the water was great. gotta take advantage while you can.

    I've also been doing lots of stuff w/ the veg adventurers meetup group.

    email me sometime and we can meet for coffee or tea. my address is on my blog.

  8. Penny,
    I know what you mean about eating out. At the very least eating out means you don't have to cook or clean up but sometimes that's just not enough. The meet-up dinners were really great - food and company.

    Thanks for the welcome. This week we've been doing full-time daycare for our granddaughter and have been busy all day and too tired to move at night. I joined the vegan meet-up, and there's a lunch tomorrow at Araya's but not sure if we'll make it or not. I'll email you as soon as things settle down a bit around here.

    My next chore is to deal with setting up a new computer.


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